I read today's Times-Picayune and was struck be David Marcello's column
Seeking real reform in city procurement:
Headlines scream about who's ahead in the mayor-council battle over awarding city contracts: "Council fails to override mayor's veto!" Lost in the shuffle is the important issue that underlies these conflicts: How can we reform the way City Hall selects architects, engineers, lawyers and other professional services contractors?
For the hundredth time I was frustrated and wanted to do something about our dysfunctional city government. A few minutes later, during my Saturday morning blog reading, I ran across a fellow soul, Timothy M. O'Brien writing for the O'Reilly blog on Government Transparency is Our Responsibility: Apps for America, who is frustrated on a grander scale:
Regardless of your political ideas, if you are watching the slow machinery of our Federal government switch gears and are wondering how to involve yourself, you don't need to send in a resume to some government official or even ask anyone's permission. Governance, and government generally, is not the protected domain of elected or appointed officials, it is the product of individual initiative transformed into collective desire.
O'Brien has some ideas about how to put this manifesto into action, and in particular calls our attention to Sunlight Labs Apps for America contest:
Sunlight Labs is one of several organizations dedicated to the idea of great transparency in government, and they are sponsoring a competition for people to use several open source APIs and tools to create novel applications and ways to slice and dice gov't data. You can enter today, you don't have to ask anyone's permission, and all you need to do is join a Google Group and register for an API key.
A few minutes later, I ran across a post about DIYcity, and it suddenly became clear that I could finally do something. The result is DIY New Orleans, and a new DIY city topical group on Government Transparency. Consider this a first step towards "Apps for NOLA".